We look at five countries which might witness dramatic change in the coming year.
Barham Salih says he's "ready to resign" rather than designate Asaad al Edani – the candidate of a pro-Iranian coalition for the post of the prime minister – who he said would be rejected by protesters.
The nomination was promptly rejected by Iraqi protesters who want an independent candidate to take over the government, officials said.
Demonstrators block roads and bridges in southern cities by burning tyres to condemn Iran's influence and leaders who have failed to agree on a new premier.
Officials raise the death toll to 25 protesters killed and over 130 wounded while an armed drone hit the home of Iraqi cleric Muqtada al Sadr in Najaf city, sources say.
Iraqi protesters are concerned whether Prime Minister Mahdi's replacement will be acceptable to the nation, while experts warn that any bold moves by Iran could lead to further bloodshed or worse.
Adil Abdul Mahdi says he will step down in response to a call for a change of leadership by the country's top cleric Ayatollah Ali al Sistani, even as more protesters are shot dead in southern Nasiriyah city.
Iraq's ruling elite fear the unity of the Iraqi people because it directly undermines their divisive rule.
In the southern city of Basra, seven protesters were killed on Thursday and early Friday, driving up the death toll since October 1 when demonstrations over unemployment began.
Tens of thousands of Iraqis have been protesting, mostly in Baghdad and southern regions, since last month, demanding sweeping change to the political system established after the 2003 US-led invasion.
Iraqi Prime Minister Adil Abdul Mahdi insists on a political reconciliation rather than early elections, but the leaders of the two largest blocs in the parliament insist he must step down.
Iraqis have launched two waves of mass protests this month, calling for the resignation of a government they blame for corruption, economic mismanagement and poor public services.
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